POPRAD TATRY, June 23, 2017
Cedrik-Marcel Stebe of Germany and Serbian Laslo Djere advanced to the singles final of the €64,000 Poprad Tatry Challenger on a windy Friday afternoon in northern Slovakia.
Stebe rallied past seventh seed Adam Pavlasek from the Czech Republic, winning 6-7, 6-4 ,6-3. After a rusty start, being a break down, the 26-year-old German began to find his rhythm in the middle of the opening set to get into the tie-break. However, Stebe let slip a 5-3 lead due to a couple of unforced errors. Pavlasek handled the difficult conditions and the pressure well and capitalized on his first set point, clinching the breaker 7-5.
The Czech also had the better start into the second frame but Stebe broke his opponent’s serve twice and eventually took the match the distance. The leftie needed again some time, trailing 0-3 in the final set but gained six games in a row to secure victory in two hours and 23 minutes.
“Conditions were pretty tough today. I just tried to hold the ball in play. I was lucky that I managed to come back, as Adam is a strong opponent,” Stebe was happy afterwards. After nearly three years on the sidelines with multiples injuries, the former World No. 71 has returned to his first ATP Challenger final since lifting the trophy in Meknes in 2013.
“Of course I feel a bit tired now after playing a lot of matches in the last couple of weeks, but I think that I was in better physical shape than my opponent towards the end of the match today. It has been a long time and it feels great to be back in a final. I am happy that I can play so many matches in a row without feeling any pain. Now I am trying to recover the best possible way in order to be ready for tomorrow.”
Stebe To Face Djere For The First Time
Laslo Djere edged past sixth seed Roberto Carballés-Baena of Spain, winning 6-2, 7-5. The third favourite sent down five aces and broke serve six times to advance in one hour and 41 minutes. Djere will appear in his fifth ATP Challenger final trying to capture his maiden trophy. Stebe and Djere will meet for the first time.